44871 (LMS 4871 & BR 44871)

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4871 was built at Crewe in 1945 and later renumbered 44871 following nationalisation in 1948.

BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Longsight
September 1948Carlisle Upperby
September 1951Crewe North
January 1952Holyhead
May 1952Crewe North
June 1952Stoke
September 1953Crewe
October 1953Stoke
May 1958Crewe South
June 1960Stoke
June 1963Trafford Park
November 1965Stockport Edgeley
May 1968Bolton
July 1968Carnforth

44871 was one of the locomotives used to haul the Fifteen Guinea Special on 11th August 1968 in tandem with 44781 on the Carlisle to Manchester leg. It was withdrawn from service the following day.

44871 remained at Carnforth which became Steamtown museum after being purchased by Dr Peter Beet and Graham Ellis. In 1974 Sir Bill McAlpine became a shareholder and subsequently he acquired a controlling interest in the company. Steamtown closed in 1997 but remains a working railway facility as the home to West Coast Railway Company.

Whilst Steamtown was open, and once the ban on operating steam trains on the main line was lifted in 1972, Carnforth was used as a base to operate trains to York and to Sellafield. The first test run took place to Ulverston with 44871 and 44932 preceded special trains to Barrow in Furness.At this time it carried the name Sovereign.

44871 also worked on the West Highland line from Fort William to Mallaig during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

For some years in the late 1970s the locomotive carried the name Sovereign.

In 2006 44871 was sold to Riley and Son (E) Ltd who operate a railway locomotive engineering and refurbishment company, based in Bury. This followed the death of Dr Beet in late 2005. Graham Ellis moved to the Isle of Mull in 1972 which had reduced his involvement with Steamtown.

44871 ran again under its own steam in 2009 and at the end of the year undertook load testing runs on the main line. It was returned to main line running again and after an absence of 17 years, it returned to Fort William in 2010 working the Jacobite service. At that time it had 10″ cabside numerals and 65J (Fort William – Mallaig) shed plate.

Whilst based on the East Lancs Railway 44871 has regularly performed on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway as well as being used to haul a variety of train on the main line, often double heading with 45407.

In November 2019 the locomotive completed 502 miles in one day. It did this by running from Southall to Swindon, Shrewsbury and on to Crewe before returning to Southall via Bristol.

The boiler certificate expires in 2020.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
East Lancs RailwayOperational 

Ian Riley


44871 at Chinley – mid 1960s
44871 approaching Bury Bolton Street on a freight from Heywood to Ratenstall on what is now the East Lancs Railway – June 1968
44871 on Bolton shed – June 1968

70013 Oliver Cromwell
 hauls the Fifteen Guinea Special into Carlisle whilst 44871 and 44781 wait to back down onto the train for the return journey. 11th August 1968
44871 leads 44781 into Blackburn station at the head of the Fifteen Guinee Special – August 1968
44871 at Steamtown Carnforth – July 1969
44871 at Steamtown, Carnforth - April 1977.jpg
44871 at Steamtown, Carnforth – April 1977
44871 (then named Sovereign) at Carnforth - September 1980.jpg
44871 (then named Sovereign) at Carnforth – September 1980
44871 crossing Rannoch Moor – October 2010
44871 at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway – January 2011
44871 before hauling Ehe West Highlander along with 45407 from Crianlarich to Oban – September 2011
44871 in front of 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier at Irwell Vale on the East Lancashire Railway – January 2013
44871 in front of 45407 The Lancashire Fusilier at Winwick – April 2014
44871 at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway – January 2015
44871 pilots 45407 at Penistone in South Yorkshire hauling The Tin Bath – February 2015
44871 pilots 45699 Galatea on The Tin Bath through Kearsley -2 February 2016
44871 pilots 45407 at Northampton whilst moving from Carnforth to Southall – December 2016
44871 at Stow - August 2017.jpg
44871 at Stow – August 2017
44871 on the Swanage Railway – October 2018
44871 at Ramsbottom on the East Lancs Railway – October 2019
44871 at Ramsbottom on the East Lancs Railway – October 2019

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